Journalists from 10 Latin American countries entered the humid tropical forest of the Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor, in northwestern Colombia, to learn in depth about the UN-REDD Program and how forests play a fundamental role in mitigating change climate.From July 23 to 27, they traveled to Bogotá, Medellín and Acandí to meet and discuss with experts and colleagues and also to see on the ground the advances in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation, conservation efforts and the increase of the captures of CO2, known as REDD +.
The initiative was organized by the UN-REDD Programme with support from LatinClima and was attended by journalists from Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Chile and Mexico.
The journalists exchanged with Colombian and Latin American experts, with whom they discussed issues related to the role of forests in mitigating climate change and REDD+.
They also participated in a event organized in Bogotá by Semana Magazine about the challenge of doing environmental journalism in Latin America. The workshop also included a field trip to the Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor, where the COCOMASUR Community Council, made up of communities of native Afro-Colombian descent and residents in the Tolo River basin and in the southern coastal area of the municipality of Acandí, developed the first REDD+ conservation project in the world that generated carbon credits for protecting the forest in a collective territory.
The activities developed by COCOMASUR allow the protection of 13,465 hectares of tropical forest in the Darien region, considered one of the most biologically diverse regions of the planet. The work of this Council is also an example of empowerment, communal organization and struggle for the defense of the territory.
Strengthen forest monitoring capacities
The UN-REDD Programme supported the Government of Colombia in the formulation of the "Comprehensive Strategy for Control of Deforestation and Sustainable Forest Management". As part of the process of identifying and working with local communities to strengthen national capacities for forest monitoring, one of the communities that demonstrated the greatest capacity and progress was COCOMASUR.
During the last three years, the Program prioritized, within its main capacity building tools, the development of exchanges of experiences at the national level related to the implementation of REDD+ actions and participatory community monitoring. In this context, a series of exchange tours between communities were developed. The tours had the participation of 85 leaders of indigenous, Afro-Colombian organizations and national and regional public institutions from all over the country.
"I was touched by that sense of belonging, see how they care for each tree"
During their visit to Acandí, journalists had the opportunity to experience the forest, to know how to measure carbon storage and to live with Afro-Colombian families.
"If there is one thing that I have to highlight from this experience, it is undoubtedly the walk through the forest, an experience that was definitely fascinating and that I would repeat over and over again with the sole objective of understanding that model of sustainable development that this community has implemented; an example that could be replicated in all our regions of Latin America, "said Marlene Testa, of the newspaper La Estrella de Panamá.
Everildys Córdoba, Coordinadora de COCOMASUR.
"Sharing with families and knowing how they live is very valuable, an experience that I will keep in mind for the rest of my life and that also reaffirms my commitment as a journalist to tell stories that contribute and open the mind; more for my country, where this type of topics is very difficult and they don’t have enough recognition. I go back to my country with many ideas and with a lot of responsibility "; stated Fátima Romero, of the newspaper La Prensa de Honduras.
"I have been enriched by the power that this community has, that sense of belonging, seeing how they care for their forest, for each tree. For me it has been very important and I go back with the idea of doing something for the forests of my country, "said Adriana Mayo, of the newspaper La República de Perú.